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Note to musicians and songwriters, if you don’t pay your debts, you might lose copyrights to the songs you own. Funk legend George Clinton learned this after a judge granted copyrights to four songs from his extensive catalog to a law firm he owes over $1 million.

TMZ reports that law firm Hendricks & Lewis was a awarded $1.5 million judgment against Clinton back in 2010, but so far has only collected $340,000 of that money. So a federal judge gave the copyright to H&L so they can use the royalties to get their loot.

In the docs, the judge grants H&L the copyrights for the following Funkadelic jams:

– “Hardcore Jollies”

– “The Electric Spanking of War Babies”

– “Uncle Jam Wants You”

– “One Nation Under A Groove” 

According to the ruling, H&L can sell or use the music however it wants — with all money going toward paying back the original judgment.

Once that’s paid off, the copyrights go back to Clinton … who has filed a motion to reverse the decision. No ruling on that yet.

“One Nation Under A Groove” has been sampled by a gang of Hip-Hop acts including EPMD (“So Wat Cha Sayin'”) and X-Clan (“Funkin’ Lesson”).

At least Clinton, founder of Parliament Funkadelic, will eventually get music back. In 2010, he sued the Black Eyed Peas for using a sample of Parliament’s “(Not Just) Knee Deep” on their hit song “Shut Up” without his permission and the matter was settled out of court.

Read: Clinton got his dough.

Photo: Daniel Siwek